The American Dream is a social construct that carries particular social importance at this time of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Various research about attitudes of social inequality have been conducted, such as attitudes about poverty, welfare, and whether good acts are rewarded, yet there is a gap in the literature looking at beliefs on many of these topics, synthesized as a belief in the American Dream. The objective of this study is to understand what causes differences in belief of the American Dream. This study uses the 2000 General Social Survey to examine how attitudes about the American Dream might change based on a person’s class, occupational prestige, race, religion, age, and any fall or rise in rank or prestige. Generally, in the relationships of statistical significance, those with the lowest social standing (nonwhites, lower income people and those with less prestige) have less belief in the American Dream. Results indicated that while religion does not have a significant relationship with the American Dream alone, it impacts the strength of relationship among other factors and the American Dream. The relationships have implications for public opinion and public policy that can change America’s economic landscape.
George Ellerbach, ’11 Holy Cross, IA
Majors: Sociology, Politics
Sponsor: Erin Davis